Commons:Copyright rules by territory/Ottoman Empire

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This page provides an overview of copyright rules of the Ottoman Empire relevant to uploading works into Wikimedia Commons. Note that any work originating in the Ottoman Empire must be in the public domain, or available under a free license, in both the country of origin and the United States before it can be uploaded to Wikimedia Commons. If there is any doubt about the copyright status of a work from the Ottoman Empire, refer to the relevant laws for clarification.


The Ottoman Empire, based in Turkey, once covered large parts of the Balkans, Greece, the Middle East and North Africa. It slowly declined during the 19th century, sided with Germany during World War I and was defeated.

The partitioning of the Ottoman Empire began with the Treaty of London (1915) and continued with multiple agreements among the Allies. The partitioning of the Ottoman Empire was discussed during the Paris Peace Conference, 1919. The peace agreement, the Treaty of Sèvres, was eventually signed by the Ottoman Empire (not ratified) and the Allied administration.

States that were in part or whole within the Ottoman Empire in 1913 were Turkey, Armenia (soon part of the USSR), Iraq (British mandate), Syria and the Lebanon (French mandate), Palestine (British mandate), Jordan (British mandate), Hejaz (later part of Saudi Arabia) and Yemen.

General rules

The Ottoman Empire was dissolved in 1923, therefore all works published there are currently in the public domain in the United States. The Ottoman Empire refused to recognize international copyright, so works published there are not protected by copyright internationally.[1] Ottoman official documents are also not protected since the divans (which comprised a large variety of legal documents) were in the public domain in the Empire.[2] The empire's copyright code also explicitly stated that legislation could not be copyrighted.[3] The Empire required that copyright formalities be met (copyright notice, registration, and deposit). The copyright term was 30 years after the death of the author, sometimes less.[4]

Note that works in copyright when the Empire was dissolved may be subject to the copyright laws of successor countries. A precise date of publication must be provided, especially if the image was published circa 1920. Photographs claiming PD status on the basis of Ottoman origin must have been published in the Ottoman Empire, not merely taken there.


See also: Commons:Copyright tags

  • {{PD-Ottoman}} – for works published in the Ottoman Empire, all of which are currently in the public domain.


See also: Commons:Stamps

Public domain use {{PD-Ottoman}}.

See also


  1. Intellectual Property Guide: Global Frameworks. Caslon Analytics. Archived from the original on 2008-02-10. Retrieved on 2009-01-26.
  2. Al-Qattan, Najwa (2007) "Inside the Ottoman courthouse: territorial law at the intersection of state and religion" in The Early Modern Ottomans, Cambridge University Press, pp. p. 207 Retrieved on 26 January 2009. ISBN: 9780521817646.
  3. Birnhack, Michael (2011). "Hebrew Authors and English Copyright Law in Mandate Palestine". Theoretical Inquiries in Law 12 (1): 201-240. CITED: p. 206. // which cited: "Authors’ Rights Act of 1910", Hakk-ı Telif Kanunu, 2 Düstour 273 (1910), 12 Jamad ul Awal 1328 / 22 May 1910, § 8
  4. United International Bureaux for the Protection of Intellectual Property (1910-11-15). "Turquie - Loi sur le Droit d'Auteur (Du 8 mai 1910.)". Le Droit d'Auteur 23 (11): 148-150.
Caution: The above description may be inaccurate, incomplete and/or out of date, so must be treated with caution. Before you upload a file to Wikimedia Commons you should ensure it may be used freely. See also: Commons:General disclaimer